The most important factor when you’re first figuring out where to rent is knowing your budget. Once you know how much you are able to spend each month, you’ll need to be aware of all of the monthly costs for each apartment you’re considering. Naturally, the biggest monthly bill will be the actual rent payment, but there are often several other fees that renters don’t always think about.
Depending on the apartment’s policies, the renter often is responsible for at least some of the monthly utilities. Be sure to figure out what the average monthly utility cost will be for you.
While it is not a monthly recurrence, you will need to pay a security deposit. The security deposit is usually somewhere between one and two month’s rent. As long as you keep your apartment in good shape, you should get most (or sometimes all) of your deposit back when you move out. Another one-time payment to be aware of is an application fee. This generally ranges around $35-75 and will not be returned to you.
One final piece to be aware of when figuring out your monthly budget is hidden or conditional costs. If you’re renting a house, then some neighborhoods may require you to pay a homeowner’s association (HOA) fee. If you have a pet, then most apartment complexes require an additional monthly pet fee. Does the complex you’re considering have a clubhouse or amenity package that will cost extra? Are you going to be living with a roommate or alone? Having a roommate can help to cut some costs, but living alone can have some great benefits as well!
All these small factors contribute to calculating your average monthly costs, and need to be considered when managing your monthly budget.